Heath Nelson

Fortescue Metals Group

Heath joined Fortescue Metals Group in 2011 to increase the engagement and participation of Aboriginal businesses in Fortescue’s operations. Since this time, Heath has been responsible for awarding over 160 contracts/sub-contracts to over 50 small and large Aboriginal businesses totalling $1.7billion through the Billion Opportunities program.

The Billion Opportunities program aims to develop the economic capacity of Aboriginal businesses by delivering on business development, mentoring and training goals. The initial target of awarding $1 billion of contracts and sub-contracts in two years was set in December 2011 and achieved six months ahead of schedule in June 2013. The program is part of Fortescue’s vision to change lives through opportunity by delivering lasting benefits to the Aboriginal communities it works with, and has so far provided sustainable business opportunities for over 50 Aboriginal businesses.

Aboriginal people represent more than 12% of Fortescue’s workforce and over 1,100 Aboriginal people are employed by Fortescue and its contractors across Fortescue’s operational sites.

The Billion Opportunities program received recognition when it won the CIPS Australia 2013 Award for the Best Example of Socially Responsible Procurement, the 2014 Supply Nation Supplier Diversity Partnership Award (with Guma ICRG JV) and the 2014 ABA 100 Community Contribution Award. 

Key Speaking Points

Innovative approach to sustainable Aboriginal business development

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